By Kristin Yancy
It’s spring fever time, and months of cold, slushy weather have all of New York restlessly anticipating a little consistent sunshine. Maybe, while you’re crossing off the days until picnic-in-the-park weather, you notice that you’ve started mindlessly biting your nails…again. You’ve been chomping on those nail beds since your 8th grade biology class, so it’s not really a big deal…or is it? Here are a few small but not-so-healthy habits you may want to consider kicking as you gear up for some long-awaited fun in the sun:
1.) Nail Biting
I get it, your parents have been telling you to quit biting for years, and now Fly Gyal is on you too? But unless you are a compulsive hand washer, the germs you carry around on your hands after you pet your neighbor’s dog, or take a floor barre class, or hold a subway pole are now…in your mouth. Biting can also lead to infections in your nails, or could be a sign of anxiety. Treat yourself to a bright red manicure (red means stop!), or try your local drug store for a anti-biting nail polish that has a distinctly bitter taste, and talk to your doctor if you feel like the biting might be due to stress.
2.) Late Night Snacking
Have you ever noticed that when you wake up in the morning, your body looks a little thinner than it did when you fell asleep? While you’re catching the Z’s, your body is still burning calories- but if you crash on a full stomach, that energy goes towards digesting your food instead. Try to keep dinner on the earlier side- 3 to 4 hours before you plan on hitting the hay. If you’re a dessert kind of girl, experiment with fruits for a healthier option: grilled fruits (pears and pineapples are especially yummy!), yogurt and mixed berries drizzled with honey, or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are all good substitutes.
3.) Downing Energy Drinks
More and more bad news keeps coming from the FDA linking hospitalizations and even deaths to these highly caffeinated ‘energy’ beverages. The short version? Avoid ‘em. Try a snack high in protein, a B vitamin, or a quick walk outside instead.
4.) Hitting Snooze
Take it from a chronic snoozer (trust me, this is my least attractive quality as a roommate): the sleep you get when you lay on the snooze button isn’t doing you any good. Not getting quality sleep can lead to a whole roster of health problems, including weight gain and high blood pressure. It might sound crazy, but getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a day is a big step towards a healthier, active you. And for those of you who are hitting the studio or the stage every single day, check this out— In Dance Magazine this month, Linda Hamilton suggested that people who sleep 10 hours a night have a greater tolerance for pain than if they took 60 mg of the painkiller codeine.
5.) Skipping Breakfast
My dad always told me: eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince, and eat dinner like a pauper. Now I’ve already confessed to having the above problem, and, as I struggle to become a morning person, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always wake up with enough time to eat a good breakfast. But skipping it all together is a bad idea! Skip breakfast and you’re more likely to binge eat later in the day, or turn to unhealthy, sugary snacks when you need a burst of energy. Before you go to bed at night, throw a plastic spoon and a yogurt in the fridge, or leave yourself a piece of fruit and a granola bar in a place where you’ll see it as your sprint out the door, the better to grab and go come morning.